Money A to Z

This guide is courtesy of The National Consumer Agency

A

Accidental death benefit

This is a benefit included on some life insurance policies A life insurance policy doesn't come into legal effect until you pay the first premium to your insurance company. Some insurers offer 'accidental death' benefit from the date they receive your application form. This means that if you die suddenly before the policy is issued the life company will either pay out the sum assured or a certain percentage of it, up to a specified limit.

Additional voluntary contributions (AVCs)

AVCs are extra contributions you pay in addition to the normal pension contributions you or your employer make (if you are a member of an employer pension plan). AVCs help to increase the value of your pension fund or can be used to contribute to a tax-free lump sum at retirement. If you are earning an income, you can claim tax relief on AVCs up to certain limits.

Administration fee

This is a fee you pay to a financial services firm for a service or product. All regulated firms have to give you details of administration and other fees before you buy a service or product.

Advisory service

A stockbroker will discuss your investment aims and objectives and then recommend a range of investments that they feel would best suit your needs. Most stockbrokers will charge a fee for their advisory services.

AER

See Annual equivalent rate

Allocation rate

This is the percentage of your money that is used to buy units in a pension or other type of investment fund. For example, an allocation rate of 97% means that for every €100 you invest, €97 is actually used to buy units. So in effect you pay €3 (or 3%) as a charge to the firm you invest with.

AMRF

See Approved minimum retirement fund

Annual equivalent rate (AER)

AER shows you what the interest on a savings account would be if the interest was compounded and paid out to you each year (instead of monthly or over any other period). You may earn less than the AER because your money may not be invested for as long as a year. Sometimes firms use Compound Annual Rate (CAR) instead of AER on savings and investment products.

Annual percentage rate (APR)

The APR is the annual rate of interest you will be charged on a loan. It takes account of all the costs involved over the term of the loan, such as any set-up charges and the interest rate. You can use the APR to compare different loans, as long as you compare them over the same term, for example 3-year loans.

Annuity

An annuity is a contract with a life assurance company that will pay you a guaranteed, regular pension income for the rest of your life in return for you paying them a lump sum when you are ready to retire. The amount of pension income you get depends on the size of the lump sum, annuity rates at the time, your age, gender and state of health.

Approved Minimum Retirement Fund (AMRF)

If you have an Approved Minimum Retirement Fund you cannot withdraw any of your original capital until you reach the age of 75. Until then, you can only access any growth in value the fund may deliver.

Approved Retirement Fund (ARF)

An Approved Retirement Fund (ARF) is a personal retirement fund where you can keep your pension invested as a lump sum after retirement. You can withdraw from it regularly to give yourself an income, on which you pay income tax.

Arrears

A late payment, or a payment after the event. For example, some salaries are paid ‘monthly in arrears' - i.e. the first payment is one month after commencement of work.

APR

See Annual percentage rate

ARF

See Approved retirement fund

ATM

It stands for 'automated teller machine' also known as a 'hole-in-the-wall'. If you have an ATM or Laser card you can use the machine to take out cash, order statements, read your account balance and get access to other information about your bank account.

Auction

A method of buying a property. It is a public sale of property, bids are offered in public and the sale agreed on the same day if one of the bids is accepted by the auctioneer.

Authorised advisors

Offer products from all financial services providers in the market. Other types of advisors include: multi-agency intermediaries and tied-agents.

AVC

See Additional voluntary contribution

Average clause

This is a condition included in some home insurance policies that limits what you can claim if you are under-insured. For example, if the contents of your home are worth €40,000 but you insure them for just €20,000 you are under-insured by 50%. If your contents are damaged, destroyed or stolen, the most you will get from your insurance company is 50% of the total damage.

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B

Balance transfer

This is the transfer of debt from one credit card to another. Some introductory offers include a 0% balance transfer for 6 months, which would give you the chance to pay off your credit card (with no interest) up to six months on your new card.

Balloon payment

This is a large final payment due at the end of some hire purchase agreements including car finance deals. It is used to keep monthly repayments lower and must be paid to finish the agreement and allow you to become the owner of the goods.

Benefit statement

This is a statement giving details of your pension plan that is sent out to you usually once a year.

Bank identifier Code (BIC)

This is the unique identification code given to banks also known as a SWIFT code. If you transfer money from one person's bank account to another, you will need the BIC of the bank that will receive the money transfer. Your code can usually be found on your bank account statements.

Bid-offer spread

This is an investment charge and refers to the difference between the buying and selling price of a unit in an investment or pension fund. A typical bid-offer spread would be 5%. For example, if you invest €100 in a pension or investment fund, its value would become €95 (€100 less 5%) if you withdrew the money immediately. The buying and selling price of the units in a fund depend on the value of the assets in the fund.

Boiler rooms

This is the name given to an unauthorised 'investment' company that uses high-pressure sales tactics to sell worthless or high-risk shares, foreign currency or other 'investments' to unsuspecting investors.

Bonds

Some life insurance companies offer guaranteed bonds which provide either a guaranteed return of the investment amount at the end of the term, together with a guaranteed level of the bonus or a guaranteed level of income for the term of the bond, usually 5 years, together with a guaranteed return of the investment amount at the end of the term.

Bridging loan

This is a loan from a provider, that acts as a link between the time frame of buying a new home and selling your existing home.

Buildings insurance

This insurance pays the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home if it is damaged by unforeseen events (as detailed in your insurance policy).

Buy-out bond

If you leave or move jobs, you can transfer the value of your employer pension to an individual fund, where your money grows tax free, until you retire. This fund usually invests in a mix of assets including: property, stock, cash and bonds. You can also choose to transfer the money to a personal pension plan instead.

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C

Capital

Also called principal and refers to the original amount you borrowed.

Capital gains

This refers to any profit you make if you sell an asset, such as shares, for a higher price than you originally paid.

Capital gains tax (CGT)

This is a government tax that you must pay if you make a profit (a capital gain) of more than €1,270 in any tax year if you sell an asset such as shares or investment property. Check the Revenue website for current rates.

If you make a loss, you can subtract the amount of the loss from any amount that you owe in CGT.

CAR

See Compound annual return

Chargebacks

A chargeback is a reversal of a disputed sales transaction on a credit or debit card. For example, you can contact your card provider to ask them to refund the cost of a purchase if you paid for goods you did not receive or never ordered or if a business fails to cancel recurring payments. The card provider will decide if you are entitled to a refund based on the circumstances. Every provider has specific timeframes and conditions attached to their chargeback facility.

Children's protection benefit

This is a benefit included on some life insurance policies. In this case when you take out life cover for yourself, your children are also covered up to a smaller specified amount.

Collateral

Collateral is something that a lender accepts as security for a loan. This is usually an asset such as an existing property or investment. If the loan is not repaid, the lender can sell the collateral to meet the outstanding debt.

Collective investment

See pooled investment.

Commission

This is a payment that a financial services company gives to a financial intermediary, such as a broker or financial advisor for selling their financial product.

Compound annual return (CAR)

CAR is a measure of the rate of return on a deposit or investment. You can use it to compare different accounts.

If there is €110 in an account, a year after €100 was lodged in it the return, or CAR, is 10%. Your account may have certain terms and conditions that can stop you from getting the full rate, for example you can't make any withdrawals.

Contents insurance

This insurance covers for the loss or damage of property within your home. For example, furniture, clothing, personal possessions etc. Contents cover is a separate type of insurance to buildings insurance, which covers the structure of your property.

Contributory occupational pension scheme

The is a type of work pension scheme to which employees are required to contribute (usually a fixed percentage of their pensionable pay) in order to meet part of the cost of the benefits.

Conveyancing

This is the term for the legal process of transferring the ownership of property from seller to buyer.

Cost of credit

The cost of credit shows you the real cost of borrowing. It is the difference between the amount you borrow and the total you will repay including the interest by the end of the loan period.

Credit history

This tracks your record in repaying loans. Most lenders use a central agency, the Irish Credit Bureau to check your credit history. It keeps files on individual borrowers, and uses the information it gets from lenders to build up each borrower's credit history.

Credit scoring

When you apply for a credit card, current account, personal loan, hire purchase (HP) agreement or mortgage, the lender will award you points or marks based on your credit history and on your answers to questions on the loan application form. The total score you get helps the lender predict how big a risk they are taking by giving you a loan and what size loan to give you.

Credit transfer

This is an order from you to your bank to transfer a sum of money to another account. A credit transfer can be made on paper, by phone, or online if available by your financial institution.

CREST

Crest is the electronic settlement system used to buy and sell shares traded on the London and Irish stock exchanges. Crest also offers investors the opportunity to hold their shares in electronic form in their own name through personal membership.

Critical illness cover

This is an insurance that pays out a lump sum if you're diagnosed with a specified critical illness covered by your policy.

Cross-border handling fee

This is a fee you may have to pay to your credit card provider when using your credit card abroad in a non-euro area. When charged, this fee is typically a percentage of the transaction (it can range from 1% to 3%). These fees can also be known as ‘currency conversion fees'.

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D

Death-in-service benefit

If your occupational pension plan has death-in-service benefit, the benefit is the amount paid out to your dependants if you die while you are still employed.

Debt consolidation

This means taking out a single loan to pay off a number of other loans. Also called 'wrapping up your debt', often a mortgage, to pay off individual, smaller, loans.

Deeds

These are the legal ownership documents of your home or property. Your lender holds them as security, until your mortgage has been paid off.

Default

This is when a payment or series of payments on a loan or mortgage are missed.

Deferred period

This is the length of time you must be out of work due to sickness or disability before your income protection insurance policy pays out. The deferred period is between 13, and 52 weeks, depending on your policy.

Defined benefit pension plan

This is a type of pension plan where the income you get when you retire is related to your final salary and years of service with your employer.

Defined contribution pension fund

With a defined contribution pension plan, your pension income depends on the value of your pension fund when you retire.

Deflation

This occurs when prices decline over time. It is the opposite of inflation.

Deposit

This is money you hold in a savings or deposit account at a financial institution that earns interest.

A mortgage deposit is the difference between the price of a property and the amount you can borrow.

Deposit interest retention tax (DIRT)

This is a tax you pay on any interest you earn for money deposited in a financial institution. Most financial institutions automatically take it from the interest it pays to your account and pass it over to the Revenue Commissioners. Check the Revenue site for current rates.

Deposit protection scheme

This is a scheme designed to compensate depositors, when a bank, building society or credit union fails, subject to certain limits.

Direct debit

This is a payment taken from your account by a third party to whom you have given written permission to do so. You may, for instance, give the ESB permission to withdraw variable amounts of money to pay your electricity bill. To stop a direct debit contact the third-party supplier, in this case the ESB, and your bank to let them know you want to cancel the payment.

Discretionary service

This is when a stockbroker will invest money on your behalf. The stockbroker does not have to tell you about every trade that is made on your behalf.

Dividend

This is a payment that some public companies pay to their shareholders as a way of distributing some of their profits. The payment may be in cash or shares.

Dormant account

An account on which there has been no transaction for 15 years or more. If this happens, the institution where your account is held will try to contact you to find out what you want to do with the account. Any money not claimed will be transferred to a fund managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA). The money remains yours and it can be reclaimed at any time, including interest. If you have a dormant account, contact the branch where the account was held. If the institution no longer exists, contact the Irish Banking Federation. Then complete the relevant claim form. If someone has died and you think they had a dormant account, their next-of-kin can reclaim the money in the same way.

For more information on dormant accounts, contact the Irish Banking Federation.

Driver personal accident cover

This provides limited cover for death or loss of sight or limbs as a result of a car accident.

Dual life policy

This is a life insurance policy that provides cover for two people and continues after the first person dies. It pays out benefit on each death.

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E

Emergency fund

An emergency fund is money set aside in an accessible savings account for events such as unemployment, medical bills, and car repairs. You should try to build up a saving fund that covers your basic living costs for three to six months.

Equivalent annual rate (EAR)

This is used to show the full price of interest on an account. EAR takes into account the basic rate of interest charged or earned, and any additional charges such as quarterly fees, set-up charges, and so on. EAR calculates interest as if it is paid once a year, even if it is paid twice or three times per year. The higher the EAR, the more interest you will be charged or earn. EAR applies to deposits (credit) as well as overdrafts (debits).

Endowment policy

An endowment policy is an investment plan. You usually pay premiums into it each month, and the money is invested in shares, bonds, property and cash. The aim is to grow the policy value so that after a set number of years, it will be enough to pay off the original mortgage you borrow.

Endowment policy values can fall as well as rise so there is no guarantee the policy will be enough to pay off your mortgage.

Endowment trader

An endowment trader is an individual or company that specialises in buying endowment policies from policyholders.

If you are thinking of surrendering or cashing in an endowment policy, you may wish to compare the option of cashing in with your insurance company or selling or trading to an endowment trader, to get the best value.

Entry charge

This is a charge for setting up your pension plan or investment.

Equity

Equity is the value of any assets you own after any debts are paid. In the context of your property, your equity refers to the difference between its market value and the mortgage you owe on it.

Equity release

These are schemes that allow you to release some of the equity, or the value you have built up in your home, without having to move out or sell it. Certain schemes are available to older homeowners in the form of ‘life-time loans' or ‘home reversions'. Equity release is also referred to as ‘re-mortgaging'.

Euribor

The Euribor (Euro Interbank Offered Rate) is the interest rate at which euro area banks will lend to each other. There is a separate rate for each lending period (a lending period can be from one week up to 12 months). Euribor rates may have an effect on the interest rate your bank offers you. These rates change every day. You can get more information on the Euribor website.

European Central Bank (ECB)

The ECB is the central bank for Europe's single currency, the euro. Its main task is to maintain the purchasing power of the euro and price stability in the euro area. One of the functions of the bank is to set interest rates for the 13 member countries in the euro zone. The Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland (CBFSAI) is a member of the European System of Central Banks.

Eurozone

Eurozone countries are: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain. In addition EURO transactions in other EU countries are charged at the same rate as in Ireland. Rest of EU countries are Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

Excess

This is the first part of any insurance claim that you have to pay yourself. It is usually a fixed sum. Remember for home insurance a subsidence excess will be a much higher amount (typically €1,000). For motor insurance you may not have to pay any excess on certain types of claim such as windscreen replacement on a motor policy. Excess is often called 'standard excess' on many insurance policy documents.

Exchange-traded fund (ETF)

This is an investment fund that tracks the shares of a particular stock market index, such as the top 20 shares quoted on the Irish Stock Exchange. The fund itself is also quoted and traded on the stock market.

Exclusions

Exclusions, or restrictions, are events or situations that are not covered by your insurance policy. Standard exclusions are contained in every policy. Specific exclusions are restrictions your insurer adds to your policy only.

Execution-only

This is where a stockbroker is simply instructed to buy or sell a particular investment on your behalf. The broker has no say about the trade and does not provide you with any advice.

Exit penalty

Also known as an early encashment or exit charge, this is a charge applied by a financial institution when you cash in an investment or repay a loan within a set number of years or before a specific maturity date.

Exit tax

This is a tax that you are liable for if your investment makes a profit. It is taken off your investment when you withdraw money - the Revenue website for current exit tax rates.

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F

Financial advisor

A regulated financial advisor is someone who is authorised by the Financial Regulator to give advice to individual members of the public. Advisors can either be ‘tied' and only able to advise on products of their employer or they can be ‘independent' and able to advise on a range of providers and products. It is important when selecting an advisor that you understand how they are being paid for the advice that is being given to you and what impact any commission being paid will have on your pension or investments. You can use the Financial Regulator's registers site to get a list of authorised advisors.

Financial Services Ombudsman

The Financial Services Ombudsman is an indepednent statutory office who deals with complaints from consumers about financial services providers. The FSO only deals with complaints that have not been resolved through your provider. It is a free service to the complainant. Broader issues of consumer protection are the responsibility of the Financial Regulator.

Fixed rate

This means interest is fixed at a particular rate over a fixed time. If rates fall you can miss out on the benefits. If you want to pay off your full loan within the set time, you have to pay penalty fees.

Fixed rate penalty

An amount you may have to pay if you wish to pay off your loan, part of your loan or change any of the terms, during the fixed rate period.

Fixed-term deposits

With fixed-term deposits you put money into your account for an agreed amount of time. Usually the interest rate is fixed for that period and if you take money out during that time you generally pay a penalty.

Fund management charge

This is an annual charge you have to pay to get a fund manager to manage your investment. A typical fund management charge would be 1% per annum. The management charge is often higher if the bid-offer spread is low or zero.

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G

Guaranteed insurability option

This is a benefit included on some life insurance policies. It means that you have the option to take out additional life cover at certain stages, for example if you have children or your mortgage amount increases, without having to provide evidence of good health.

Guarantor

This is a person who agrees to pay off a loan if the borrower fails to pay.

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I

Income protection (or permanent health insurance)

Insurance that pays you a monthly income if you're unable to work due to illness or injury. It will pay you up until you are able to return to work, or retirement, whichever is the sooner.

Indemnify

When an insurance company indemnifies any losses, it will pay for the damaged goods or property to be restored to the condition they were in before an event or as close as is possible. Most general insurance policies provide indemnity cover.

Indemnity Bond

An indemnity bond is a type of insurance policy that can be taken out by a lender when they give you a mortgage. The policy insures the lender against making a loss if they repossesses your property and the house is worth less than the outstanding amount of the mortgage. When you take out a mortgage some lenders may charge you for indemnity bond costs.

Index-linking

Index linking, or indexation, increases the benefit on your life insurance or investment policy automatically every year to make allowances for inflation. Your premium also increases each year to pay for indexation.

Inflation

The risk that your money will lose value over time. Your buying power goes down as prices increase. You need to earn more than the inflation rate to get a real return on your money.

Interest on loans

This is the amount you pay to borrow money and is added to the loan.

Interest on savings

You can earn interest on certain accounts. This money is added to your savings.

Interest relief

A refund of tax available based on the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. The refund is deducted from your monthly repayment by your lender.

International bank account number (IBAN)

This is an international standard for numbering bank accounts, developed by the European Committee for Banking Standards to make cross border payments more efficient. To process a cross-border money transfer, you will need your IBAN and that of the bank account that is to receive the money. The number can usually be found on your bank account statement.

Investor compensation scheme

The investor compensation scheme pays compensation, subject to certain limits, to eligible consumers if an authorised investment firm fails. You can get more information about the scheme on the The Investor Compensation Company website.

Irish Credit Bureau

This is a credit reference agency that maintains information about individual borrowers' credit histories. You can get a copy of your own details for a small fee by contacting the ICB.

Irish Stock Exchange

This is where stocks and other securities are bought and sold. The Financial Regulator regulates the Irish Stock Exchange.

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J

Joint account

These are accounts you open in the names of more than one person. Before you open a joint account, consider if the permission of all those taking part is required to make any withdrawals and what happens to the account if one of the holders dies.

Joint life policy

This is a type of life insurance policy that covers two lives, such as you and your spouse, child or business partner. It pays out the benefit only once, either you or your partner dies while the policy is in force.

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L

Land Registry

This is a central register of the ownership of land and buildings. Not all properties are registered. You need to search the Registry of Deeds to find out if a property is registered.

Letter of Closure

If you are closing your credit card you should ask your credit card provider to send you a 'letter of closure' which confirms you have paid the stamp duty on the account. Once you receive this letter you should send it to your new bank to avoid getting charged for stamp duty twice. Your letter of closure is an important document so keep it somewhere safe and before you send it to your new bank, make a copy of it.

Letter of Offer

Also called the 'offer of advance', this is a formal statement by your mortgage lender of the amount they are prepared to lend you.

Liquidity

This is the ease or speed with which you can convert your investment to cash. Illiquid investments, such as property, cannot be converted to cash at short notice.

Loading

This is a charge added to an insurance premium because of some specific risk factor such as the health of an individual looking for a life insurance policy.

Loan-to-Value (LTV)

This is a percentage representing the amount owing on a mortgage relative to the market value of the property. You have a loan-to-value of 50% if your home is worth €500,000 and you owe €250,000.

Long-term care conversion

This is a benefit included on some life insurance policies. It gives you the option of converting your life cover to long-term care cover, to ensure that you have money to fund the cost of future care. It is paid out in the form of a cash payment for an agreed period of time.

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M

Market Value Reduction (MVR)

This is a reduction in the value of your investment that your life insurance company may apply when you withdraw some or all of your investment except at certain times.

Maturity Value

This is the amount you will get at the end of the term of your insurance or investment policy. Maturity values are not always guaranteed.

Mortgage contract

A document or group of documents containing all the terms and conditions laid down by your lender regarding your mortgage.

Mortgage deed

The legal document that you sign when you obtain a mortgage.

Mortgage Protection

This is a form of life insurance product, which lenders must make sure you have in place when you take out a mortgage on your family home and if you are under 50 years of age. Your mortgage protection policy pays off the outstanding amount due on your mortgage if you die.

Mortgage term

This is the number of years on your mortgage.

Mortgagee

The lender that lends you the money to purchase your property.

Mortgagor

The person taking the mortgage.

Multi-agency intermediaries

Investment or mortgage brokers who advise on and sell products from a number of financial services firms. Other types of advisors include authorised advisors and tied-agents.

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N

National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA)

This is a Government agency that manages the national debt and administers the national pension fund. It also administers a fund where unclaimed money from dormant accounts is transferred.

Negative equity

This term is used to describe a situation where the market value of your house is less than the balance you owe on your mortgage.

No-claims bonus or discount

This is a percentage reduction you get on your car or home insurance premium. It is based on the number of years since you made a claim.

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O

Occupational pension scheme

A pension scheme set up by an employer to provide retirement benefits for employees. This term is used interchangeably with ‘Company Pension Scheme.' It is also known as an ‘Employer Pension Plan'.

Ombudsman

This is an official appointed to represent the interests of the public to investigate and address unresolved complaints reported by individual citizens.

You can send your complaint about a financial service to the Pensions Ombudsman or the Financial Services Ombudsman.

Open driving

This means that other people driving your car with your permission are covered by your policy as long as they hold a valid driving license licence.

Overdraft

When more money is paid out of your current account than you have deposited, your account is said to be in overdraft. Your bank effectively gives you a loan. Your bank must normally approve such loans in advance.

Your bank grants overdraft permission up to a set limit. If you do not have overdraft permission the bank may still allow your account to go into overdraft but may charge an unauthorised overdraft fee.

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P

Pensions Ombudsman

The Pensions Ombudsman investigates complaints and disputes involving occupational pension schemes and Personal Retirement Savings Accounts (PRSAs) and decides on a resolution. The Ombudsman is completely independent and impartial and is a free service to the complainant.

Payment protection insurance (PPI)

Pays you a regular amount if you are unable to work for health reasons or redundancy. This insurance can also cover you for repayments of a loan and some bills for a limited time.

Pay-related social insurance (PRSI)

This is a contribution toward the cost of social welfare and pension benefits. It is payable by employers, employees and the self-employed. It is calculated as a percentage of your earnings and is deducted from your wages.

Pension fund

This is the value of your pension made up of payments into the fund and any growth that it has earned. Any fees and charges you have to pay will reduce the value of your fund.

Personal pension plan

A policy taken out (by those who are self employed or who are in non-Pensionable Employment) from an insurance company, in order to provide benefits in retirement.

Percentage point

A percentage point is the difference between two percentages. A fall of one percentage point would be a fall from ten to nine percent. When the ECB moves interest rates, it is usually by a quarter or half a percentage point.

Permanent total disablement (PTD)

PTD can mean two different things, depending on your insurance policy. It can mean you are permanently and totally unable to do your current job. Or, it can mean you are not able to do many normal daily activities, so you are permanently unable to work at any job.

Personal identification number (PIN)

This is a unique code number you use, along with a credit, debit or cash card, to authorise transactions such as cash withdrawals from your account(s). It is personal to you and should be kept secret and separate from your card. You can change your PIN.

Personal retirement savings account (PRSA)

A personal retirement savings account (PRSA) is a type of personal pension policy available from banks, life assurance companies, and through brokers. It is more flexible than a traditional personal pension plan. Anyone up to the age of 75 can take out a PRSA. You don't have to be earning an income to do so.

PIN

See Personal Identification Number

Policy

A policy is an insurance contract between you and an insurance company.

Policy benefit

Also known as the sum assured, this is the amount of money you could receive if you make an insurance claim that is successful.

Policy fee

This is a regular fee you pay on some investment and pension policies. A policy fee is usually a fixed amount, for example €3.50 per month.

Pooled investment

A pooled investment (also called a collective investment) is one where many people put in different amounts of money into a fund, which is then invested in one asset or a mix of assets such as shares, property, bonds or cash. A professional fund manager picks the investments and chooses when to buy and sell them. The main benefits of pooled investments are that you can spread your risk, choose from a range of different funds and have lower dealing and administration costs.

Premium

This is the amount you pay for an insurance policy. It can be a once-off lump sum or it can be a monthly or yearly payment.

Principal

see capital above.

Private treaty

A method of selling a property. Bids are offered in private over a period of time, usually to an auctioneer, and the seller decides which one to accept.

PRSA

See Personal retirement savings plan

PRSI

See Pay related social insurance

PTD

See Permanent total disablement

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R

Reduction in yield (RIY)

This is a way to compare the charges on an investment product over a period of time. It works by showing the return that you would have received if there were no charges. For example, a personal pension plan has a projected return of 5% per year. The result of the charges is a reduction in yield of 1.5%, so the actual projected return is 3.5%. You can use the RIY to compare products and the lowest RIY charges, check regularly that the RIY does not change over the term your invest.

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S

Searches (property)

Your solicitor will do searches to confirm that the seller of a property can pass ownership to you and that there are no outstanding judgments or debts against the property.

Security

Security is any asset that can be sold to repay the loan if you don't. It may be a mortgage on a property, an insurance policy or some other asset. Your lender might ask you to put up some form of security before giving you a loan.

Serious illness insurance

This policy pays a lump sum benefit if you are diagnosed as suffering from one of the serious illnesses specifically covered by your policy.

Standard excess

This is the first part of any insurance claim that you have to pay yourself. It is usually a fixed sum. Remember for home insurance a subsidence excess will be a much higher amount (typically €1,000). For motor insurance you may not have to pay any excess on certain types of claim such as windscreen replacement on a motor policy.

Stamp duty (Cards)

You must pay a yearly stamp duty on ATM, credit and debit cards. The Revenue website has more information on current rates.

Stamp duty (property)

This is a tax you pay to the government when you buy a property. A rate applies depending on the size and purchase price of the property and whether you are a first time buyer. For information on property stamp duty go to the Revenue website

Stamp duty (Share dealing)

You must pay a once-off tax when you buy shares in Ireland. For current rates check the Revenue website or ask your stockbroker.

Step back bonus protection

If you have this protection and you claim on your car insurance, you will only lose part of your no-claims discount.

Standing order

This is an instruction you give to your bank to make regular payments out of your account to another account. Unlike a direct debit, you instruct your bank directly about how much is to be paid and the amount is fixed and can only be changed by you.

Sum assured

Also known as the policy benefit, this is the amount of money you could receive if you have a successful insurance claim. With a life insurance or serious illness policy, you choose the sum assured.

Surrender value

This is the amount you will get if you cash in or cancel your insurance policy early. This value is usually lower than the value of the policy when it matures.

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T

Term insurance policy

This is an insurance policy that pays out a fixed benefit if you die within a certain number of years (the term of the policy).

Terminal illness

Insurance companies usually define terminal illness as an illness that is likely to result in a person dying within 12 months.

Terminal illness benefit

This is a benefit included on some life insurance policies. It means that your life cover will be paid early if you are diagnosed as being terminally ill. In some cases there will be a maximum percentage of life cover that can be paid out on terminal illness, with the balance payable on death.

Tied agents

These are advisors who work in financial services firms like banks and insurance companies, who advise on and sell their own products. They only offer advice on products from their own financial institution. They still have to give you a product that is suitable for your needs, but they cannot shop around on your behalf. Other types of advisors include authorised advisors and multi-agency intermediaries.

Title deeds

Documention that shows the ownership of the property.

Tracker mortgage

This is a mortgage that is set at a fixed percentage or 'margin' above the ECB rate. For example, it could be set at the ECB rate plus one percentage point. So, if the ECB rate rises by a percentage point, so does your rate. It will also 'track' the ECB rate when this rate goes down.

Travel insurance

Pays out if you unexpectedly have to cancel your holiday; are taken ill while away; accidentally injure somebody or damage somebody else's possessions while on holiday or lose your own possessions. You will need to check your individual policy's terms and conditions to see when it pays out.

Trustee

If you have an occupational pension, in most cases your employer will choose a person or company to act as trustee and manage your pension plan.

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V

Valuation

This is when a fund manager measures and gives you an estimate value of the investments in your fund.

Valuation fee

This is the fee you pay to a professional valuer, such as an auctioneer or estate agent, to estimate a property’s market value.

Valuation report

An estimate of the value of the property reported to the lender by the valuer nominated by them. The Valuers fee is usually paid for by the mortgagor.

Variable rate

Variable rates rise and fall in line with general interest rate changes in the euro zone. Variable rates offer the most flexibility (over fixed rates) and allow you to pay off part or all of your loan without having to pay any fees or penalties.

Vendor

This is the person selling the property.

Voluntary surrender

When you cannot afford your repayments on a hire purchase agreement your only option may be to surrender the car by signing a voluntary surrender form. The finance company will calculate how much you owe, sell the car and you pay the shortfall.

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W

Whole of life policy

This type of life insurance policy covers you for your whole life. It pays out a benefit when you die – whenever that happens – as long as the policy is still in force. The benefit is not usually fixed and can vary over the life of the policy depending on the performance of the investment fund used by the policy. Also, your premiums are not fixed and may increase from time to time, for example every 10 years or so.

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Saturday
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Wednesday
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sun with light cloud
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Thursday
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